Friday 3 March is World Hearing Day. This year's theme is 'Ear and hearing care for all! Let's make it a reality'.
It invites audiologists, patients, and others in the hearing health space to campaign to policy makers for the integration of ear and hearing care within primary healthcare.
This integration will make it easier, cheaper and quicker for you to access audiology and other hearing services to better manage your hearing health.
An integrated healthcare system is a crucial step towards achieving better hearing health outcomes for everyone.
In this system, your healthcare providers will work closer together, sharing their knowledge more readily to treat your hearing holistically across different stages of your life, supported by government policies.
You can expect each of your healthcare providers to have an increased familiarity with ear and hearing health. This will fast-track how long it will take for you to receive a diagnosis and treatment for your hearing loss, or hearing condition.
New policy changes are making it possible for you to access hearing care services easier, at a cheaper cost, and to link with different health professionals all committed to your ear and hearing care.
The changes both acknowledge audiologists as integral partners in the healthcare system and the pivotal role audiologists play in preventing, assessing, treating and rehabilitating someone with a hearing or balance disorder.
Quicker referral times
From 1 March 2023, the Government is legislating changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), including widening the scope to allow any medical practitioner to refer a patient to an audiologist.
This reduces the number of referrals you need to receive audiological assessments and treatment, saving you both time and money.
The changes are particularly beneficial for people in regional and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, who do not have frequent access to healthcare services.
More subsidised appointments for young people
Other changes to the MBS include allowing more young people with complex neurological disorders, such as a child or young person with autism, to access allied health services at a subsidised cost.
The changes increase the number of allied health assessments or treatments covered by Medicare from four to eight services, and increase the age limit of eligible patients from 13 to 25 years of age.
Free interpreting servies
If you are from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, or know someone who is, you can now access a free interpreter at select locations around Australia when you book to see an audiologist.
The changes to the Government's Free Interpreting Service allow an interpreter to join you by phone, video call or even in-person during your audiology appointment. The interpreter can assist your audiologist to accurately convey information and reduce any confusion.
The service includes access to interpreters in 150 languages, including Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, Vietnamese and Thai.
Access the following resources to learn more about hearing, or share them with your clients if you are an audiologist:
Learn about the MBS changes and take the opportunity to upskill:
You can help us spread the message and build awareness of the value and importance of hearing health and protecting our ears by following us on social media and liking, sharing and commenting on our posts.
Let's work together to make ear and hearing care for all a reality:
1. What is World Hearing Day?
Held annually on 3 March, World Hearing Day is a global awareness campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight the importance and value of hearing healthcare and the need to protect hearing throughout the course of our lives.
2. How do we hear?
Our ears work with our brain using a delicate system to transport sound waves through the outer, middle, and inner ear and process and transform sound signals into the things we hear.
Sound waves travel down our ear canal where they are vibrated through the ear drum. The sound is then conducted by the smallest bones in the body 'the hammer, anvil and stirrup' into the cochlea in the inner ear where tiny hairs perfectly tuned to specific pitches transform the sound into signals that are sent along the hearing nerve to our brain.
Our brain then helps us process and understand these signals as the things we hear.
3. What does an audiologist do?
Audiologists are highly skilled and trained hearing health professionals who provide advice, treatment, education, and interventions for people with hearing, communication, and balance problems. They can work closely with other health professions and in a wide variety of health and education settings.
Our Find an Audiologist search tool is a quick and easy way to find an AudA Accredited Audiologist near you.